Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | March 16, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says flood waters are hazardous to your health, so use a little common sense when working around flood waters this spring.

It is almost Spring, and that means rain in this part of the country.  Too much rain equals flooding events.  Unfortunately, flood waters are contaminated, polluted and hazardous.  It is just a dirty fact of our moden society.

Thus, EPA cautions the public and all responders about the potential hazards associated with flood waters. Every effort should be made to limit contact with flood water due to potentially elevated levels of contamination associated with raw sewage and other hazardous substances.

EPA offers the following guidelines for those in contact with flood water:

  • Wash your hands before drinking and eating;
  • Wash frequently using soap — especially disinfecting soap;
  • Do not smoke;
  • Limit direct contact with contaminated flood water;
  • Pay attention to any cuts or open wounds and limit exposure to flood water;
  • Pay attention to any unusual symptoms and report them to health care professionals; and
  • Keep vaccinations current.

Public and emergency response personnel should follow guidelines from federal, state and local health and safety professionals.

Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Anyone experiencing these and any other problems should immediately seek medical attention.

General precautions to reduce contact with contaminated flood include routine washing with soap, and not eating or drinking while in contact with flood water. These precautions can significantly help reduce potential exposure and illness. Anyone with open-wounds or pre-existing conditions should seek immediate consultation to prevent possible illness.

Notify response officials immediately if you are aware of oil spills or other potential contamination of flood waters by chemicals – call 1-800-424-8802.

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